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Vertical Pleasure

The secret life of a tax man

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Vertical Pleasure is the first set of climbing memoirs from Mick Fowler – 'Britain’s hardest-climbing tax inspector', the ‘Mountaineer’s Mountaineer’ and recipient of the Piolet d’Or.

Vertical Pleasure begins with Fowler’s early teenage years on easy British rock and Swiss 4000-metre peaks under the guidance of his father. A frenzied spell follows, with climbing worked in around jobs, discos and girlfriends before Fowler takes a job at the tax office and settles in London. Long-distance drives in clapped out mini-vans see him tackle new winter routes in the Scottish Highlands, always managing to return for work on Monday mornings. He dodges vomiting fulmars, sinking boats and over-enthusiastic policemen in the pursuit of first-ascents on remote sea-stacks and crumbling coastal cliffs, and tackles Alpine testpieces as he develops into one of Britain’s finest mountaineers. Along the way, the sport of chalk-climbing is born on the White Cliffs of Dover and a burst and frozen water pipe allows the first winter ascent of St Pancras station in London. It is when he moves in to the Greater Ranges that Fowler really begins to shine. With climbers such as Victor Saunders and Steve Sustad he begins a run of first ascents on peaks like Taulliraju, Spantik and Cerro Kishtwar.

Written with a dry sense of humour, Vertical Pleasure is a must read for the enthusiastic rock, winter and Alpine climber – a classic of the genre.

Available as an ebook:

Kindle (Amazon U.K. site)
Kindle (Amazon U.S. site)


Mick Fowler was introduced to climbing in the Swiss and French Alps by his father when he was 13. During his teenage years he developed an enthusiasm for exploratory climbing which has seen him establishing new climbs at or near the top of most fields of climbing over the last 35 years. He has made first ascents and ‘challenging’ climbs across the world – from frozen drainpipes in London to the chalk cliffs of Dover and on to the Himalaya and China, earning him the title of ‘Mountaineer’s Mountaineer’ in a poll in The Observer. Remarkably, his climbing has taken place alongside a full-time job at the tax office, earning him the another title – ‘Britain’s hardest-climbing tax collector.’

  • Title: Vertical Pleasure
  • Sub-title: The secret life of a tax man
  • Author: Mick Fowler
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
  • ISBN: 978-1-906148-73-7
  • Publication date: 17 June 2013
  • Price: £9.99

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